Film examines the meaning of community

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GUILFORD — Why do we build community? Can we make a difference together? And how do we define `progress' today - to protect our communities and cultural tapestry in the face of tremendous obstacles? These are transcendent questions at the heart of Betsy Kalin's documentary "East LA Interchange," which will be featured at the Kopkind Colony's Grassroots Documentary Screening on Saturday, August 3, 7:30 p.m., at the Organ Barn, 158 Kopkind Road.

The film tells the story of Boyle Heights, the oldest neighborhood in East Los Angeles, a multicultural working-class community with a history that is both local and national. Once called "the Ellis Island of the West Coast" and now predominantly Mexican, it faced racially restrictive housing covenants, Japanese-American internment, federal redlining policies and political indifference or disdain toward its people - in the form of lack of representation and construction of the largest and busiest freeway interchange system in the United States. How the community survived and changed, what challenges it faces today, are issues central to Kalin's film. Yet the question of whether an evolving Boyle Heights can preserve its unique culture and history, along with creating new opportunities for its residents amid environmental, social and economic transformations, is one that communities everywhere are facing.

The screening is free, open to the public and will be followed by discussion with the filmmaker.

Kopkind is a living memorial to the late journalist and Guilford resident Andrew Kopkind, who wrote on politics and culture with a matchless style and depth for national and international publications until his death, in 1994. For more information or directions, contact 802-254-4859 or jwyp@earthlink.net.

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